Cote D’Ivoire – Mutiny Ends

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Mutinying soldiers agree to government deal ending days of protests and tensions across the country. 

On May 16th it was reported that a four day mutiny by ex-rebel soldiers ended after a government offer was accepted. The mutiny had hit cities and towns across the country and paralysed many services.

“We accept the government’s proposal … We are returning to barracks,” said Sergeant Seydou Kone, one of the revolt’s spokesmen, in the country’s second largest city, Bouake.

The offer included an amendment on bonus payments, which some of the rebels have already received. The government had offered an immediate payment of CFA Francs 5m followed by CFAf 2m the following month.

The mutiny was started by around 8,400 soldiers, who were mainly former rebel fighters who had helped President Alassane Ouattara to power, subsequently being integrated into the national army.

It follows another mutiny in January this year, after which the government agreed to pay the rebels CFAf 12m (18,000 euros) each. Although the government failed to follow up the deal, paying only a partial amount.

The recent mutiny was triggered after a group from the January protestors apologised to President Ouattara and the head of the army on national television, saying they would not pursue the bonuses anymore.

During the tensions one person was left dead after the mutinying soldiers fired on residents protesting against them in Bouaka.

Heavy gunfire was also reported in Abdijan and Bouake on May 15th, with the latter sealed off by the mutineers. Gunfire also broke out in San Pedro, and mutineers blocked the main border crossing to Burkina Faso.

Many businesses and schools were closed, alongside the main banking association in the country, APBEF, which decided to close all banks. The four day mutiny paralysed economic activity in the country.

The deal to end the protests also came after the authorities conducted a military operation “to re-establish order”.

However, the government has struggled to make the payment, with a budget hit by the collapse in the price of cocoa, the country’s main export.

In 2016, the government unveiled an ambitious plan to modernise the 22,000 strong military, part of which would involve the departure of several thousand men, particularly former rebels, who would not be replaced. (Al-Jazeera 15/5; Deutschewelle 16/5)

Find out more in the Africa Research Bulletin:

COTE D’IVOIRE: Fresh Mutinies
Political, Social & Cultural Series
Vol. 54, Issue. 2, Pp. 21327C–21328B

Côte d’Ivoire – Mutiny in Major Cities
Political, Social & Cultural Series
Vol. 54, Issue. 1, Pp. 21290B–21290C

CÔTE D’IVOIRE: Legislative Poll [Free to Read]
Political, Social & Cultural Series
Vol. 53, Issue. 12, Pp. 21247C–21248B

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